Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Mientkiewicz Stole The Ball! (Or Did He?): The Odd 2004 World Series Mystery

(Getty Images)
Doug Mientkiewicz played just a half-season for the Boston Red Sox. But his name lives in a strange kind of limbo—halfway between hero and villain. The first-baseman—who turns 44-years-old today—famously caught the final out of the epic 2004 World Series. When the ball nestled into his mitt, millions of Red Sox fans around the world immediately shed 86 years of angst. But then, he stirred controversy when he refused to give the prized ball up. It was going to be his "retirement fund", he indelicately stated. Death threats and lawsuits followed. Many fans thought, 'Who is this interloper presuming to steal our championship valor?'. Interestingly, in a 2011 interview, Mientkiewicz recounted this encounter with Larry Lucchino the day after the series ended, "He [Lucchino] said, 'Is that the ball? Pretty cool,' And I swear on my son's life—if he would have asked for it, I would have handed it to him right there and none of this ever would have happened." So, maybe we should cut him some slack—after all, Mientkiewicz eventually donated the ball to the Hall Of Fame"I remember the day they came to take the ball, and I kept thinking to myself, 'Thank God this is over.'" Happy birthday, Doug!